Saturday, May 20, 2023

London: Day 1

London, Day 1 of a roughly 12 day trip including a lot of flying time.  Took a while - I was modifying the Python script I have to read from a file and write to a file so I don't have to run a script against individual pictures.  Seems to be working, although I have to deal with the portrait v landscape manually and when there's a video it takes me a moment to realize why the embed isn't working.

We got in pretty early.  Our Vrbo for most of the trip wasn't available the first day, so we had an alternate downtown by the Shard.  We weren't sure what Coronation traffic would look like, given we inadvertently scheduled our vacation for the coronation of George III, but it wasn't bad at all.  Our place downtown was tiny, but certainly centralized, and they let us check in really early which was great for dropping off the luggage after hoofing it from Heathrow.

We went for a walk to see the sights.  I went for a few because I like to walk and, unlike my wife, my knees are in good shape.

Here's the wife and kid across the river from the Tower and near the bridge.  They don't look this bright eyed and bushy tailed by the end of our trip.  

London Day 1  Aeryn Jen Bridge by:

The photo order here will be a little messed up, but I'll get it right on the subsequent posts now that the script works.  During my walk by myself I circled the neighborhood and found an actual brewery, something that wasn't really available after we moved to the Willesden area.  The Yacht Rock Tunes? caught my eye.  I learned what Yacht Rock was my friend Nick while at IHOP before the pandemic.  I mean...I knew what it was, I just didn't know it had a nomenclature.
London Day 1 Brewery by:

Anspach and Hobday makes a pretty good Guiness like dark.
London Day 1 Brewery Beer by:

Back to the family touring.  Us in front of the bridge.  I'm not sure we have a lot of family pictures going forward.  I'm not so sure there's even a single photo of all of us together.  Aeryn did their own things for a big part of the trip: gaming, zoo, parks.  Jen and I did castles and such.  Partially because Aeryn hates the crowds and London is definitely about crowds.  Although our trip to the Tower wasn't very busy in my opinion, and to Hampton Court, not at all.  Wish we would have had more time there to enjoy the quiet.

London Day 1 Bridge Aeryn Dad by:

London runs on coffee.  Even after we moved to Willesden, which is less metropolitan, the coffee shops were open until end of dinner, and many bars and restaurants doubled as coffee shops. Also a good place for a bit of wifi if you don't unlock your phone before you leave.  This may seem like an oversight, but both Jen and I got new phones recently and just didn't want to argue the unlocking as long as Aeryn had an unlockable phone.  It worked fine.  I was actually appreciative of being able to sort of tune out and not be hooked to my phone outside a coffee shop, public wifi spot, or the room in the evening/morning.
London Day 1 Coffee by:

From near our original stay.  I really wanted to check out Fuckoffee in the morning for a cup.
London Day 1 Fuckoffee by:

I mean, these are excellent and would have made good gifts.  But they had some anti-woke / right-leaning merch as well, and I didn't want to give them my money.
London Day 1 Fuckoffee Mugs by:

Me posing with my nickname.
London Day 1 Me Dexters by:

Fun area by the Thames near where we found coffee.
London Day 1 Near Thames by:

When I went out by myself, I made the mistake of not taking my umbrella.  I didn't make that mistake again during the trip.  The thing might as well have been part of me.  This was really beautiful, to be honest.  A huge downpour.
London Day 1 Rain 2 by:

However, my feet were soaked.  I had to take the hair dryer to my shoes until they were finally wearable.
London Day 1 Rain by:

Jen and Aeryn are in this photo down there somewhere.  I tended to wander off even if it was for a block or two when they were sitting.  It was a good thing, I found a "Find the Doctor [Who]" book for Aeryn that way, and some neat things I might not have seen otherwise.
London Day 1 Thames by:

A bar I found while on my own.  As old and upscale looking as this is, the inside and clientele reminded of nothing quite so much as a bar in Big Lake [Minnesota].  For those of you who haven't spent time in mainstreet bars in Big Lake, you can probably get the idea based on your local small town bar frequented by a mix of locals, mainly dudes, including old timers and guys who will become/replace the old timers.  This is the only bar I was in that gave me that feeling in London and I was in a lot of bars.  Trading purchasing a beer for use of a bathroom was a valid transaction, although it's self-perpetuating as the last beer is processed by your system.
London Day 1 The George by:

Inside the bar. 
London Day 1 The George Beavertown by:

Near the brewery, I ran into an urban fox.  I wasn't sure if that was unusual, but the local stopping to check it out implied it was.  He's a little mangy looking and was obviously trying to figure out how to get to the best pickings in dumpsters.  Other than birds, I didn't see much wildlife.  
London Day 1 Urban Fox by:

We went back out in the evening.  I pointed the family at a shopping complex I'd encountered while walking.  I think it's called Hay's Galleria.  Just past the HMS Belfast on the Thames.  I didn't realize not far past that was a replica of Drake's Golden Hinde.  I walked almost as far as Hay's coming from the Eye and having a beer at the Globe [at the Swan], but there was a little gap there I missed.

Jen checking out the steampunkish boat/art at the galleria.
London Day 1 Hays Jen by:

Aeryn having a drink [and churros] at the Galleria.  The churro guy was missing in action, but finally showed up and had only two churro servings left by the time Aeryn was out of the line.  But a nice local came over and said the churros were too big and told Aeryn the last one was waiting for them.  Very friendly way to start vacation.  We chatted up the bartender at this place for a while about the coronation, the cost, and UK and US politics.  For the record, a lot of younger Brits I talked to perked up and knew sort of where I was from when I mentioned George Floyd had been murdered not far from where I live. Even more so than saying I was proximate to the Mall of America.
London Day 1 Hays Aeryn Churro Drink by:

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